Fortunately I've done enough of these types of shoots where I know you spend most of your time waiting. Production people think talent is unpredictable and unreliable, so they make them get there really early. In my case, since I'm the talent representative (and not the talent, this time), I had to get there early too. But I spent most of my time on my laptop working anyway.
We did have enough time to get breakfast this morning, despite too little sleep, and lucky for me Sebouh's luggage required us to take a cab anyway so we got to go to the famous Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Avenue, too far to walk, too inconvenient to the El line, but at the crossroads of America at the beginning of the famed Route 66 and a quick taxi ride away.
Lou Mitchell's, which opened in the 1920s, is one of those places like Sears in San Francisco that's still kind of stuck in the mid 20th century, full of tradition and about as down-home as you can get. Before we even sat down, we were greeted at the door by a woman with a platter full of sugar-dusted doughnut holes, offering us each one, which was a very good sign to having an outstanding time there. The meal started with a complimentary slice of orange and a juicy prune, which was better than any shriveled up little thing I was forced to eat as a kid. I tried to get a little bit of everything, ordering one pancake and one egg with a slice of honey cured ham, but apparently they double every egg order so I got two instead. We went all-out and ordered Lou's special fries which come served in a skillet with melted feta and cheddar all over them, and which were just terribly delicious.
When it came time to leave, they lit up their genius taxi call light, which flashed like one deserving of an accompanying siren. Lo and behold, immediately a cab answered its call. Wishing we'd stayed to eat more greasy food to fatten ourselves up, we got to the studio early enough to sit around and do a whole lot of nothing, except be on hand in case someone needed us. They call that "artist relations," exhausting work which is just making conversation and being nice. After about seven hours of that (about three of which was actually recording something), Sebouh and I had to hustle off to the airport.
Of course, our flights had been cancelled because of weather in New York, but Seb's travel agent managed to get him confirmed on another flight even earlier than his cancelled one, so he really had to hustle. I, however, was not so lucky, and could only get confirmed on a flight the next morning. I figured I'd go to the airport with Seb anyway and just try to get on one - something that's more often successful in person at the airport than on the phone with the airline. Once again, Seb insisted on public transportation rather than braving rush hour traffic, but we found ourselves too far from the El train to walk and no cabs in sight. In typical fashion, I spotted a bus and suggested we hop on. Nobody ever takes busses unless I make them.
For all the hustling we did, we still ended up on a stupid CTA train that just sat in a station, and just crawled even when it was moving. By the time I got to the airport, I was in a race against time to get on any flight, braving long counter lines and self service machines that weren't a lick of help.
I got on a standby list for a 7:45 flight that was delayed to 9:42, giving me enough time to stop by Wolfgang Puck for dinner (a highlight of O'Hare). But a big part of me, as my eyes drooped and my stomach dropped at the thought of the week ahead, wanted to just check into the airport Marriott and get a good night's sleep and take the early flight the next morning, despite not having an extra change of clothes (or underwear) and really wanting to sleep in my own bed. I can imagine that a lot of people felt the same way because somehow, even though I was #13 on the standby list, I managed to get on the flight - which finally departed Chicago at 11 p.m.
I was lucky enough to pass out on the flight, so the two hours on an American airplane without the entertainment amenities I'm used to on JetBlue didn't feel too excrutiating. After waiting for the car service to pick me up and sitting through the half hour ride home (pretty speedy in no traffic), I've got to figure out how to put myself to bed, now that I'm in my own and all the waiting is over....